A Wellesley High School Stadium Task Force has been formed and this week presented its latest findings to the School Committee. The task force was launched in recognition that the current stadium facility is somewhat shabby and that the field doesn’t easily accommodate multiple sports (it’s mainly used for football, with some lacrosse). The track only has 5-7 years of life remaining, most likely. The task force also “finds that the current landscaping and fencing surrounding the stadium is outdated, unattractive and beyond repair.” Among other things, the task force recommends putting in a synthetic field similar to or better than the one at Sprague, a solar-powered scoreboard and widening/lengthening the track.
Speaking at the School Committee meeting on Feb. 12, Recreation Commission Chair Tom Harrington said he’s excited that high school teams are so plentiful and active, but that they’re making it tough for youth sports programs in town to field available fields at Sprague. The Stadium Task Force would hope to lure more of the high school teams back to the high school field. The task force also wants to give multi-purpose fields at the Hunnewell Fields along Washington Street a breather, given how beaten up they’ve been getting from football practices and other activities that take place there, he said. Harrington said the youth sports programs are so hard up for fields that they funded the study about revamping the high school stadium.
Harrington says the task force has been working closely with neighbors to get their input on the design, which would include steering visitors in vehicles mainly toward the Wellesley High School parking lot. Lights at the field is an unresolved issue, for the next stage of the design work. Noise could also be an issue for neighbors, though Harrington says the latest approaches to sound systems could help alleviate concerns there (having multiple small speakers rather than one big one blasting out noise, as is currently the case).
Harrington stressed that funding the project will be a challenge and that, if the School Committee approves of going ahead with further study of the plan by the task force, creative funding options will need to be found (“We’re not asking for money now!”). Harrington says the task force would expect to hit up outfits such as the Community Preservation Committee and is hoping to get on the town’s 5-year capital plan. The School Committee sounded enthusiastic.
Here’s a look at one vision for a new stadium (click here to read fine print):